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Foodforthought

Post-Pill Diary & The Power of Plant-Based Foods!

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I thought I'd add my experiences in one place, as I have had so many positives ones recently.

After years of thinking that I lived a relatively healthy lifestyle, but still had acne, I had a big reassessment (mostly after learning some interesting data from my DNA, in which I realised that I can't metabolise key B vitamins properly, can't break down oestrogen effectively and have a greater need than most for Omega 3) and realised that I really wasn't healthful at all. I started to see food as nourishment instead.

I was able to clear up my skin beautifully, whilst still on the pill (I had never managed this before), through diet and lifestyle. For the most part this was through avoiding inflammatory foods such as refined foods and dairy and upping plant-based foods rich in anti-oxidants. Whilst I have done 'diet overhauls' in the past, I always focused on what I should cut OUT, rather than add in. For example, I never really ate leafy green vegetables regularly (this has been the biggest game-changer!). I then realised that I had several health issues relating to the Pill and realised that I needed to quit. The less serious indicators of high oestrogen were chloasma on my forehead and breast lumps that will never go away. After quitting, I found out all sorts of info about the pill, not least that it prevents absorption of B vitamins - which I struggle to process anyway - and decimates gut flora. BP technically worked, but used to leach my skin of nutrients and my skin could never heal whilst I slathered it on, leaving horrible red marks for months. It was a useful crutch at a time when my lifestyle wasn't optimal though (full of refined food, lack of veggies and white wine several evenings a week, pizza every week as a 'treat', high stress job).

I was scared of quitting the pill, as in the past I have had the worst outbreaks of my life around month 3 and gone back to the doctors in tears.

I am currently at month two and, despite two spots just above my jawline and cheek, my skin has never looked better. I ignore any spots beneath my jaw and on my neck as they don't bother me unless on my face. Not only that, but my skin is healing super fast. I have had lifelong problems with slow skin-healing, which is horrible when you have acne that just never fades away. I don't even feel that I need to wear foundation over these two spots, as the skin around them is glowing (I would never in my life have described my patchy, red skin in such a way!). 

Here are the changes I have made, based on research and taking a more relaxed, long-term approach to being healthy:

* Daily high quality probiotic (Garden of life Ultra Defense)
* Top quality multi-vitamin (Raw, by Garden of life, for women) - I found out that my previous multi did more harm than good with cheap folic acid I can't break down and cyanocobalamin - the worst form of B12
* Omega 3 - Eye-Q strawberry capsules - These have the biggest impact
* Estroblock (just started) - This contains DIM, found in cruciferous veggies - a natural way to mop up one of the toxic break-down products from oestrogen and prevent hormonal acne in some people - the stubborn bits on the jawline and neck.
* Plant-based diet 80%+ of the time. Tons of green, leafy veg. Mostly vegan, but not obsessively so.

Light exercise - 30-40 minutes regular running for health. Avoiding too much longer & stress to body as have done in the past - just enjoying it and avoiding months of stagnation where I do none.

Beauty:

* Super gentle cleanser once a day only - REN Rose - Has had a dramatic impact. I used to spend tons on face products.
* Natural spot cream with the key ingredient of thyme (Lush Grease Lightning). This really calms my spots.
* Only natural make-up products - Uncoverup concealor, no foundation for months now
* Natural shampoo/conditioner (am switching to Green People now). A shampoo shouldn't make your eyes itch, or is irritating skin too!

I also find that I can calm down a spot easily through drinking fresh ginger steeped in water (eating the ginger) as it is super anti-inflammatory, or a green smoothie (kale and ginger based). I have been able to treat myself to my morning fresh coffee (homemade, not strong coffee shop) without a problem thankfully! I found that by focusing on what foods to cram into my day, I didn't need to eat any refined goods anyway.

Typical food day:

Breakfast: Oats with banana, berries and flaxseed. Fresh coffee.
Lunch: Big, colourful salad with puy lentils and ACV/lemon dressing
Afternoon: Green smoothie with kale and ginger. Try to have matcha green tea or hot water with lemon & fresh ginger
Snack: Try to eat a raw carrot for Vit A & oestrogen sweeping effects
Dinner: Buddha bowl with sweet potato chips, beans, green leafy veg and avocado guacamole with lime.

This has had an amazing effect on my skin and body and I have never felt better! No food or sugar cravings either!

Has anyone else found similar things through a plant-based diet or green products? Is anyone else thinking of quitting the pill too?
 

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Check-in! I am currently at the time of month when I would usually have breakouts and... I have none! My skin feels slightly more oily than when I was on the pill, but this hasn't yet caused any acne thus far. Post pill I have had a single 3-day breakout on my neck only, which cleared up swiftly.

In the past I was always on a desperate search in this forum for singular food items and groups that would affect my skin. If my skin broke out I would try to link it to something I ate the day before. I now realise that it is simply the quality of overall diet (how alkaline and nutrient-rich it is, plus how low in inflammatory foods) and I can eat anything I like as long as it is low GI and my overall diet has been pretty good. 

I am still taking a quality multi-vit, switched an omega 3 to CLO, probiotics and DIM. The DIM has been impressive so far. For the first week on it I had a headache and my pee was dark, but my body seems to have detoxed the bad oestrogen now and I feel fine. If you take a multi-vitamin, check that yours has 'folate' instead of folic acid and 'methyl-B12' instead of cyano-B12.  The majority (circa 70%) of people can't break down folic acid properly, which causes toxicity. If interested in genetics feel free to ask!

I continue to only use a natural facewash once a day and LUSH spot gel to keep skin calm in places that might have a small bump I can feel.

This is the first time I have stuck to a pretty much vegan diet and felt great, because I haven't worried about what to cut out, rather focused on what to cram in to be nourished (including protein and fats at every meal of the day - like almond butter, lentil and beans). I reckon that having tons of green leafy veg has helped my skin the most. I love eating healthily, but not obsessing over food like I have done in the past.

I will check back in at month 3 post-pill, as that is when I have had the worst acne of my life (the three times I tried to quit before). If I manage to avoid the fallout I keep also reading online it will be a miracle!!


 

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Boo... I had a virus (coupled with it being 4 days before the wrong time of month) and the tops of each cheek broke out, plus I had 3 spots on my jawline (all large ones). Whilst I felt like I'd lost my magic powers (I also then relaxed my diet whilst ill) what actually happened is that these painful spots cleared up and healed within 4 days. Usually, I have terrible healing issues and end up with red marks for months, but they calmed down the moment I started to feel better and have healed nicely. I attribute it to eating lots of fresh ginger, steamed dark, leafy greens (these are just MAGIC... If I eat loads one day, my face is totally calm the next morning!) and avocado. 

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